Hanging of the Greens

Rev. Annette (Taft) Fraser who has pastored thirty five years plus in New Zealand, Western Samoa, San Francisco and Texas. And is now an Associate Editor of Preachers’ Magazine. This is one of the services that she has used across the years

The powerful message of Christ’s coming to save us
is shown today in this worship service of music and Scriptures
and through the colors and true symbols of Christmas
Praise to Jesus our coming King!

 

Call to Worship: from Isaiah 2  

(Congregation reads the bold print)

    Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord
    Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.
    During this Advent season,
    Let us learn of God’s ways and walk in God’s paths.

Invocation

What is “Hanging of the Greens”?  

“Hanging of the Greens”’: Why do we do it? What does it mean? It is a custom predating Christ when people would bring indoors, green boughs and branches to sustain them during the dark days of winter without electricity.  This carried through to the Christian era. This meant homes, stores, churches would do much to decorate with evergreens. Remember the church always led the way in the community and not the reverse.

              So for hundreds of years, the church has led the way with the remembrance of Christ’s incarnation through the evergreens in the church during the Advent season which begins today.  At this time we prepare for the one who has come, whom we expect to come, who has come into our lives in numerous ways in various times and places, and the One who will come again. We prepare our hearts. We make room again for the Messiah. In hanging the greens we share with Christians throughout the ages the memory and anticipation of Christ’s coming.  We decorate our church with these symbols: everlasting life, love, joy, hope, peace, so then even our decorations proclaim: Jesus is born! God is with us! Praise His name forever!

Responsive reading: From Isaiah 2, 11, and 62

In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be exalted and all the nations shall come to it.
   Let us prepare God’s house for His coming!
Many people shall come and say: “Let us go up to the mounts of the Lord, to the house   of the God of Jacob.
    Let us prepare God’s house for His coming!
A shoot shall come out of the stump of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him.
    Let us prepare God’s house for His coming!
You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of your God
    Let us prepare God’s house for His coming!
As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall the Lord rejoice over you.

Rejoice oh congregation: the Lord is drawing near
                 The Advent of salvation-let signs of joy appear
          The Lord, to earth descending, will soon reveal His face
           To grant us life unending, with joy make glad this place.

Chorus: “His name is wonderful”

His name is Wonderful, His name is Wonderful
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord
He is the Mighty King, Ruler of Everything
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord
He’s the Great Shepherd, the Rock of all Ages
Almighty God is He
Bow down before Him, love and adore Him
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord  (repeat all)

What is the significance of the colors of Christmas?

In the Beginning: Isaiah 64:8
Make this place glad! The holy place
                       Where God’s high praise is told
                     Symbols and colors tell his grace
                             As signs of grace unfold

Let There be Light: Isaiah 9: 2
     Make this place glad: let candles glow
                These waiting days to mark
             The coming of the Lord to show
                     As Light dispels the dark.

Green: Isaiah 61:1A
           Make this place glad: adorned with green
                   With many garlands hung
             So shall God’s gift of life be seen
                       His praises gladly sung

Red: Isaiah 53: 3-5
             Make this place glad: Let brilliant red
                   This wondrous news proclaim
             For us the Savior’s blood was shed
                    O praise His blessed name

White and Gold: Isaiah 40:9
Make this place glad! Let gold and white
Proclaim our Savior’s worth
Whose everlasting glory bright
Brings peace to all the earth

Purple/Royal Blue: Isaiah 61: 3
Make this place glad! With richest hues
That lift our eyes on high
The King is coming! Spread the news
The Son of God draws nigh!

Continuation of service with offering, prayer time, sermon and special music

Closing Hymn:   (Tune to “Deck the Halls”)

“The Way Prepare”
Hark, the herald’s voice entreating
“In the wilderness, the way prepare!”
To all faithful hearts repeating
“In each heart and home, the way prepare!”
As a sign of preparation
Boughs of greens now are seen everywhere
Welcoming such glad salvation
“In this house of God, the way prepare!”

Let the desert bloom rejoicing:
In the wilderness, the way prepare
Share the joy, your praises voicing
In each heart and home, the way prepare
For the Savior, long-awaited
Gold and white, red are bright everywhere
Be His advent celebrated
In the house of God, the way prepare!

Benediction

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